A 131-space car park is to be built on a field at Burrs Country Park in Bury due to a huge increase in visitors.

The formalising of the current overspill car park will create off-road car parking spaces and a surfaced pavement along Woodhill Road giving pedestrian access into the park.

The field to be developed is within the green belt.

The works will create a one-way vehicle through road at the car park, the parking bays will be surfaced with a permeable plastic geogrid system and a new pavement route will be created to link to Sleaford Close.

A planning officers’ report, published by Bury Council, said: “The field has been used as an overspill car park for the park for a number of years.

“Due to the increase in visitors to the park and its growing popularity as a tourist destination, and more so recently due to the pandemic which has seen an increase in number of people using the park and outside space, the park requires additional and more permanent parking provision.

“The proposal is to therefore formalise the existing grass overspill car park in order to cater for the increase in visitor numbers and thereby reduce the number of cars which use the access road and bits and pieces of land around the site to park.”

The application said that at times the park ranger had to tow cars off the current overspill car park last summer as they had become stuck in the muddy grass.

Bury Council said this proved the current facility is not fit for purpose.

The application stated the popularity of the park, particularly in the past 21 months.

It said:“The pandemic made it clear how much the local community wholly relied on Burrs Country Park for recreation, for exercise and for the benefits on their mental health.

“It is a relatively flat, easily accessible site open for all.

“However, many visitors have to travel to site by vehicle, having no other means of accessing the facilities on site.

“During lockdowns the car parks were inundated most days of the week.”

New tree planting will take place within the car park with the existing wooded boundaries being planted with shrubs and wild flowers.

The plans were approved by Bury Council on January 11.